Lagos APC: Still Playing The Ethnic Card | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Lagos APC: Still Playing The Ethnic Card

Posted: Jun 17, 2016 at 4:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Temidayo Akinsuyi, Lagos

Not a few non-indigenes in Lagos were shocked to the core last week when the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led state government under the leadership of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode reeled out the names of new sole administrators expected to oversee the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas in the State. In a cosmopolitan state like  Lagos, The new council administrators who were sworn-in last Monday by the governor according to a party chieftain, “were majorly politicians of Yoruba extraction who were members of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) ,now APC”.
Those sworn in include: Ayeni A. Babatunde; Adebayo Taoheed; Adekunle Julius; Samuel Ojo; Jacob Kent; Mrs. Bashorun Bolanle A.; Gbenga Abiola; Olumide Olayomi; Mrs. Yeyintola D. Agaba; Isa Abiola Jubril; Yusuf Temitope; Alh. Musa Nasir A.; Ogunleye Gbolahon; Babatunde Adetunji; Olu Ogunniyi; Sola Akande; Alh. Wasiu Sanni; Abiola Kolawole Esrom; Muyiwa Okesanya and Shukura Okeowo.
Others are: William Lawanson; Label Raji; Ibrahim Adigun; Mrs. Samiat O. Raji; Segun Anifowoshe; Sherif Balogun; Ilelaboye Rasaq; Mrs. Stella Kokumo; Yinka Kazeem; Quadri Ganiu; Princess Abiodun Elegushi; Mrs. Doyin Y. Salami; Ms Soikoya Abimbola; Bolaji Adele Solomon; Mrs. Animawun Adejumoke; Shefiu O. Osinnuga; Adefuye Bayo; Biodun Agbaje; Genesis N. Williams; Engr. Biodun Taiwo; Okinurudeen Bamidele; Goke Ona Olawale; Abdul Adewale; Femi John; Sanya Oshijo; Ipaye N. Adeleke; Hon. Tunde Alao; Are B. Abiola; Samson Akerele Oloyede; James Agboola; Princess Aderemi Adebowale; Rotimi Ogunwuyi; Olufemi Okedeyi; Rojaiye A. Olayemi; Surakat O. Idogun; Emmanuel Aguda and Habib Aileru.
Independent findings revealed that since the list was made public, there has been disquiet amongst non-indigenes on one hand and indigenes who were in the other political parties that merged with the ACN to form the APC.
Beginning of Trouble

Trouble started following the merger of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), and Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to form the APC.  While the notable leaders of the various parties were expected to be accommodated in the new structure, the ACN executives in  Lagos, led by  Otunba  Henry Ajomale allegedly hijacked the structure leaving out leaders of the other political parties out of the equation.

Enraged by this development, a new faction of the party, named ‘New APC Lagos’ was formed, led by the Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), Chief Ajibade Emiabata.

Speaking at the new APC’s Secretariat on Ade-Onitimirin Street, Surulere, Lagos, Emiabata alleged that he and other Chairmen of the defunct political parties that formed the merger were completely sidelined during the APC’s Stakeholders’ Forum held at party’s Secretariat, Acme road, Ikeja.

An aggrieved Emiabata said that during the Forum that lasted for hours, there was no special recognition of the other parties in the merger as the whole process was dominated by the defunct ACN leaders, describing the process as undemocratic.

“We are not going to leave the party for them”, said the factional APC Chairman, stressing that, “We are still members of the party. We’re going nowhere because we’re part of the merger. The fact that you’re majority doesn’t mean you shouldn’t recognise us. We’re not asking for equal right, but we want to be recognised.”

Aggrieved stakeholders react

Speaking with Independent, a chieftain of the APC who was formerly in the ANPP,  Akeem Ashibejoye said  the manner non-indigenes are being treated in  Lagos  APC is alarming. He said “ Aside the excos of the Lagos APC which was hundred percent dominated  by the excos of the defunct ACN,  majority of the appointments in Lagos state are being given to APC members who are not only indigenes but are also formerly in ACN”.

“ The  Lagos  APC is being run like a cult. There is nothing for you if are not in the former ACN structure. We don’t expect that in a state like Lagos, which is a mini- Nigeria. In the last general elections, many political parties pledged their support for the APC. With the kind of campaign the PDP ran, I doubt if Governor Ambode could have won if it was a straight fight between the two parties. But look at the list of Commissioners appointed by the governor, hardly can you find any non-indigenes there”.

Also speaking, another aggrieved member who chose to remain anonymous said the APC as a party, especially the Lagos state chapter has to change its outlook from being a sectional party to a national party, especially now that it is a ruling party.

“ If you look at the Lagos APC very well, you will observe that it is not accommodating to non-indigenes. It will take a miracle for the Lagos APC to present any non-indigenes as its flagbearer despite that person’s popularity, even at the councillorship level”.

“That explains why many non-indigenes are finding solace in PDP. The PDP as a party is home for all.  During the last election, the APC lost six seats in the House of Reps to PDP and eight in the House of Assembly. Many of these people are non-indigenes. That can’t be where they are today if they are members of APC. I believe that trend may continue, especially in the forthcoming local government elections”.

APC, PDP React

Gani  Taofik, the state publicity secretary of the PDP, in his reaction said such action by the APC if true, ortends great danger for the state. According to him, the non-indigenes will have no option than to seek other political parties if the APC is not ready to accommodate them.

“It portends great danger not only for the APC, but the state in general. Lagos is a cosmopolitan state. Moreso, given the fact that in the last election, records showed that the non- indigenes out of their own volition voted massively for the PDP. So, if the non-indigenes continue to be alienated, it means they have no option than to pitch their tents where their interests will be protected.  This trend by the APC should not be encouraged by any government at all. Government should be all-embracing and that is what we are advising the Ambode-led APC to do”.

When asked to speak on the development, Joe Igbokwe publicity secretary of the APC in Lagos replied via a text which read “Sorry, I can’t comment now. I am in a burial ceremony”.
However his deputy, Hon. Abiodun Salami said “The appointment of 57 sole administrators to take charge of local government areas and local council development areas in the state was purely a state government affair. It is not the job of the state chapter of the party, but I can speak on their behalf a little”.

“ I believe the recent appointment of sole administrators was based on merit devoid of any other sentiments, and if there were any non- Yoruba person qualified, he or she would probably been appointed”.
“It is true Lagos is a cosmopolitan and progressives state though other states do not consider non natives in the appointment to political offices, Lagos has always been a pace setter. In our party here in Lagos, the publicity secretary is an Igbo man, Governor Ambode also appointed Hausas and other ethnic groups into some key positions in the state”.
“But above all, we have moved beyond politics of ethnicity. In the present dispensation, we are more concerned about who can deliver instead of making appointment to please a particular group or tribe.  I believe the recent appointment was done in the best interest of the state and the governor should be commended on that” he said.
Also speaking, another party chieftain of the APC who was a senatorial aspirant in the last election said the non-indigenes in the state are asking for too much by demanding to be made sole administrators in Lagos.
According to him “Sole administrators in a council is purely a local affair. It is like appointing someone as the governor of the council. How can a non-indigene want to be the governor in another state? Even if the governor appointed a non-indigene to head a local council, do you think the people of that council will fold their hands and watch?  It doesn’t matter whether Lagos is a cosmopolitan state or not. Yes, it can happen in the Assembly, where they can represent the people of their constituency if voted in, but I doubt if that can happen anywhere in Nigeria. A Yoruba or Hausa becoming the local government chairman in Anambra? How is that possible? Even if the non-indigenes should contest local government election here, they cannot win” he said.